More Book Awards: Sydney Taylor, Charlotte Zolotow, Edgar Allen Poe, and More

KetzeltheCatwhoComposedSydney Taylor Book Awards Announced: Lesléa Newman and Amy June Bates, author and illustrator of Ketzel, the Cat who Composed, Aharon Appelfeld, Philippe Dumas and Jeffrey M. Green, author, illustrator and translator of Adam and Thomas, and Laura Amy Schlitz, author of The Hired Girl, are the 2016 winners of the Sydney Taylor Book Award.

The Sydney Taylor Book Award honors new books for children and teens that exemplify the highest literary standards while authentically portraying the Jewish experience.  The award memorializes Sydney Taylor, author of the classic All-of-a-Kind Family series.  The winners will receive their awards at the Association of Jewish Libraries Conference in Charleston, South Carolina this June.

Newman and Bates will receive the 2016 gold medal in the Sydney Taylor Book Award’s Younger Reader category for Ketzel, the Cat Who Composed, published by Candlewick Press.  This delightful picture book tells the true story of musician Morris Moshe Cotel, whose cat helped him compose a one-minute composition that received an honorable mention in the Paris New Music Review competition.  The illustrations are heartwarming and add much charm to the story.  Appelfeld, Dumas and Green will receive the 2016 gold medal in the Sydney Taylor Book Award’s Older Readers category for Adam and Thomas, published by Seven Stories Press.  This sweet story tells of two nine-year-old Jewish boys who survive the last winter of World War II, helping each other so that one grows physically stronger and braver and the other grows spiritually.  Laura Amy Schlitz will receive the 2016 gold medal in the Sydney Taylor Book Award’s Teen category for The Hired Girl, published by Candlewick Press. This sensitive story tells how fourteen-year-old Catholic Joan Skraggs becomes a hired girl to a Jewish family where she learns and grows in unexpected ways.

Five Sydney Taylor Honor Books were named for 2016.  For Younger Readers, the Honor Books are Everybody Says Shalom written by Leslie Kimmelman and illustrated by Talitha Shipman, published by Random House, and Shanghai Sukkah written by Heidi Smith Hyde and illustrated by Jing Jing Tsong, published by Kar-Ben Publishing.  Hereville:  How Mirka Caught a Fish by Barry Deutsch, published by Amulet Books, is the Honor book in the Older Reader category.  For Teen Readers, the Honor books are Serendipity’s Footsteps by Suzanne Nelson, published by Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House, and Stones on a Grave by Kathy Kacer, published by Orca Book Publishers.

Winners and Honor recipients will be participating in a blog tour from February 7-12, 2016.  For more information about the blog please visit

In addition to the medal winners, the Award Committee designated twelve Notable Books of Jewish Content for 2016.  More information about the Sydney Taylor Book Award can be found at

Click here for the full list of 2016 winners, honor books, and notable books.

Bombay BluesSouth Asia Book Award: In 2015, the South Asia Book Award selected two winning titles and honors to encurage and commend authors and publishers who produce outstanding works on South Asia. The South Asia National Outreach Consortium is a sponsor of the South Asia Book Award, which aims to provide librarians and teachers educational resources containing South Asian content. Below are the authors and winning titles.

Winner: Twenty-Cents: Muhammad Yunus and Village Bank by Paula Yoo (Lee & Low)

Winner: Bombay Blues by Tanuja Desai Hidier (Scholastic/Scholastic PUSH)

Honor:Time to Dance by Padma Venkatraman (Penguin/Nancy Paulsen Bks.)

Honor: Chandra’s Magic Light: A Story in Nepal by Therese Heine (Barefoot)

Honor: God Loves Hair by Vivek Shraya (Arsenal Pulp)

Honor: Secrets of the Sky Caves: Danger and Discovery on Nepal’s Mustang Cliff by Sandra K. Athans (Millbrook)

OskarNational Jewish Book Award: The Jewish Book Council selected Oskar and the Eight Blessings by Tanya and Richard Simon as well as The Hired Girl by Laura Amy Schlitz as the top titles for the National Jewish Book Award. The Council honors literature that “reflects the incredible range of important and powerful stories of the Jewish communities of the past and present.”

Children’s Literature

Winner: Oskar and the Eight Blessings by Tanya Simon and Richard Simon; Mark Siegel (Roaring Brook)

Finalist: Farmer Kobi’s Hanukkah Match by Karen Rostoker-Gruber and Rabbi Ron Isaacs (Apples and Honey)

Finalist: Adam and Thomas by Aharon Appelfeld (Triangle Square)

Finalist: The Safest Lie by Angela Cerrito (Holiday House)

YA Literature

Winner: The Hired Girl by Laura Amy Schlitz (Candlewick)

Finalist: Somewhere There Is Still a Sun: A Memoir of the Holocaust by Michael Gruenbaum with Todd Hasak-Lowy (S. & S./Aladdin)

Finalist: Audacity by Melanie Crowder (Philomel)

Finalist: Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke by Anne Blankman (HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray)

Rainbow List Announced: The Rainbow Book List Committee announced the 2016 Rainbow List on January 11. The Rainbow List is a bibliography of books with significant Carry Ongay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, or queer/questioning content, and which are aimed at youth, birth through age 18. The list is intended to aid youth in selecting high-quality books that were published between July 2014 and December 2015. The list also is intended to aid as a collection development or readers’ advisory tool for librarians serving children and young adults. Selected titles include SLJ Best Books More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera and Carry On by Rainbow Rowell and SLJ starred titles What We Left Behind by Robin Talley and Lizard Radio by Pat Schmatz.

Edgar Allen Poe Awards: The Mystery Writers of America revealed the nominations for the 2016 Edgar Allan Poe Awards. The Edgar Allen Poe Awards celebrate the best titles in mystery fiction, nonfiction, television. The nominations for Best Juvenile and YA include SLJ starred Blackthorn Key by Kevin Sands and SLJ Best Book The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma. Below are the other children’s and teen books up for the big award. The winners will be announced at the 70th Gala Banquet, on April 28 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York City.

Catch You Later TraitorBest Juvenile

Catch You Later, Traitor by Avi (Algonquin Young Readers/Workman)

 If You Find This by Matthew Baker (Hachette/Little, Brown)

Curiosity House: The Shrunken Head by Lauren Oliver & H.C.Chester (HarperCollins/HarperCollins Children’s)

Blackthorn Key by Kevin Sands (S. & S./Aladdin)

Footer Davis Probably is Crazy by Susan Vaught (S. & S./Paula Wiseman)
Best Young Adult

Endangered by Lamar Giles (HarperCollins/HarperTeen)

A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis (HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen)

The Sin Eater’s Daughter by Melinda Salisbury (Scholastic/Scholastic Press)

The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma (Algonquin Young Readers/Workman)

Ask the Dark by Henry Turner (HMH/Clarion Books)

Drum Dream GirlCharlotte Zolotow Award: Margarita Engle’s picture book Drum Dream Girl is the winner of the nineteenth annual Charlotte Zolotow Award for outstanding writing in a picture book.

The 2016 Charlotte Zolotow Award Committee named five honor books:

  • Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear written by Lindsay Mattick
  • Hoot Owl: Master of Disguise written by Sean Taylor
  • Last Stop on Market Street written by Matt de la Peña
  • The New Small Person written by Lauren Child
  • When Otis Courted Mama Written by Kathi Appelt

The Zolotow committee also named 10 highly commended titles:

  • Goodnight, Good Dog by Mary Lynn Ray
  • How the Sun Got to Coco’s House by Bob Graham
  • Mama’s Nightingale: A Story of Immigration and Separation by Edwidge Danticat
  • Maya’s Blanket / La manta de Maya by Monica Brown
  • Miss Hazeltine’s Home for Shy and Fearful Cats by Alicia Potter
  • A Poem in Your Pocket by Margaret McNamara
  • Ragweed’s Farm Dog Handbook by Anne Vittur Kennedy
  • Waiting by Kevin Henkes
  • Water is Water: A Book about the Water Cycle by Miranda Paul
  • When Sophie’s Feelings Are Really, Really Hurt by Molly Bang

For more about the Charlotte Zolotow Award, administered by the Cooperative Children’s Book Center, and the 2016 Zolotow Award books, see the complete press release.

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